[DEBATE] : (Fwd) Signs of the times: accolades, protests, evictions
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Fri Sep 8 09:54:08 BST 2006
September 07, 2006 /Edition 4/
*Press honours Trevor Manuel*
Finance minister Trevor Manuel has collected another accolade. He was
named last night as the Johannesburg Press Club Newsmaker 2005 at a
banquet in Sandton. He received the accolade for his leadership of the
South African economy and for dominating newsprint and airtime last year.
"It is through the leadership of Trevor Manuel that the world looks at
us with respect," said Jaco Maree, chief executive officer of Standard
Bank, giving the reason the minister had been selected. Manuel countered
by saying that the credit should go to his staff and SA's robust
economy. - Staff Reporter
Orange Farm demo turns as protests clash with police
September 07, 2006 Edition 2
Thick smoke billowed into the air. The sound of rubber bullets
reverberated and people screamed hysterically as they scattered in
different directions. Blood flowed on the tar.
This was the scene - reminiscent of apartheid-era South Africa - in
Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg, yesterday when police used rubber
bullets to disperse a crowd of protesters who had barricaded both sides
of the Golden Highway.
At least four protesters, including three women, sustained serious
injuries, bringing to eight the number injured since early yesterday
Waving a large placard reading "10 years of freedom without water,
sewerage, electricity - SA f*** democracy" and chanting revolutionary
slogans, the irate protesters toyi-toyied along the highway, which had
been barricaded with large iron sheeting, burning tyres, rocks and tins.
A heavy contingent of police officers kept close watch.
Earlier in the morning, metro police spokesperson Wayne Minnaar had
described the situation as "volatile".
Senior metro police and SAPS members tried to negotiate with the
protesters, asking them to move off the road.
However, the residents, who were joined by schoolchildren, remained defiant.
When officials from the Joburg council tried to address the crowd, they
were pelted with stones. Police reacted by firing rubber bullets in an
attempt to disperse the crowd.
When one of the councillors, Kedibone Simango, arrived under heavy
police guard, tensions boiled over, with the protesting residents booing
her even before she could address them.
She was finally able to speak from an armoured vehicle, but protesters
continued to hurl abuse at her as she battled to convince them that some
of their demands would be met by next month.
The defiant crowd had by then swelled to more than 500. No sooner had
the councillor been whisked away, when mayhem again broke out, with
police shooting indiscriminately into the crowd.
One woman lay writhing in pain as she bled profusely from a
rubber-bullet wound to the back of her head.
Some residents threatened to block the adjacent N1 freeway between
Johannesburg and Bloemfontein.
"We will continue to block the road because the local municipality is
not serious about addressing our problems. We need water, electricity,
houses, and toilets," said Janet Setshedi, who lives in Ward 4, Orange Farm.
Maria Nkomane, from Ward 6, complained that her area had always been
overlooked in the provision of basic services.
"We've been told that we are on the waiting list for (low cost) houses
since 1996. We are tired of watching our people dying from shack fires
and floods," she said.
Bricks Mokolo, an organiser for the Orange Farm Water Crisis Committee,
said most councillors in the area had failed to deliver in the critical
areas of education, health and sanitation, and housing infrastructural
By late yesterday, order had been restored, with traffic running smoothly.
However, the situation in the area remained tense.
Shack dwellers watch in despair as their homes are torn down
'Eviction notices served on wrong community'
September 07, 2006 Edition 2
They stood by anxiously watching their homes being demolished.
Bulldozers systematically and forcefully tore down walls and roofs,
leaving piles of rubble in their wake.
Residents rushed to gather whatever they could salvage, angry and desperate.
This was the scene yesterday as about 1 800 Lanseria shack dwellers were
evicted from Diteneng squatter camp, next to Lanseria Airport, their
home for the past 14 years.
Children's homework sheets and half-eaten loaves of bread lay scattered
on the ground.
Residents and local City of Johannesburg councillor Isaac Maela claim
the eviction was illegal because the people were not served with
notices. These, they say, were erroneously served on Malatje, a squatter
camp next door.
Maela stood by helplessly as the homes were razed. He tried frantically
to phone the Johannesburg and Gauteng housing departments to find
temporary accommodation for the people.
By 5pm no one had arrived and he was still waiting with the people. He
had spent about 10 hours in the sun with them.
"These people with their small children will be sleeping outside again
tonight. Thank goodness it is not too cold," the councillor said.
"Many of their belongings have been destroyed. The sheriff took away
building materials such as the zinc sheets."
Maela said neither police nor the sheriff would listen when he tried to
explain about the incorrect eviction orders. Instead police threatened
to arrest him.
They would not believe he was the local councillor despite him showing
his identity tag. "They were very nasty and would not listen to anyone,"
Residents believe the shacks are being demolished to make way for a golf
Thuli Dube, a community worker, said she and the rest of the people had
nowhere to go.
"If they want us out, they must provide us with alternative accommodation.
"We will go and camp on the main Lanseria road and stay there until they
find us somewhere to go," she said.
Smith Mhlangu was bitter.
"Many of us will be working on the construction of the new estate as
labourers, yet they are throwing us out of our homes.
"These wealthy people don't want to see our shacks around their place."
Joyce Moagi said the children cried on Tuesday when they got home from
school and saw their shattered homes.
"They got off the bus and saw bulldozers and hundreds of police pulling
the shacks down. They got very scared."
Region A (Midrand) housing manager Paul Ntsooa said the property owner
who obtained the eviction order should have served papers on the city,
but had not done so.
"We were taken by surprise by this move.
"I have sent some officials to the property, which is privately owned,
to do a headcount of women, children and the elderly to see what we can
do for them," he said.
The owner of the property, known only as Koos, could not be contacted by
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